The Youth Ministry program is busy throughout the year with exciting meetings, service projects and more! Through our monthly e-newsletter we highlight upcoming events, alumni spotlights, service opportunities, and unique stories that show the true character of the members of the St. Robert Bellarmine Youth Group.
Sara went to Marian High School and continued on at Rockhurst University in Kansas City where she graduated with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She returned to Omaha and is working as a physical therapist for Excel Physical Therapy. Mark went to Papillion LaVista High school and continued on to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he graduated with an industrial engineering degree. He followed that up with an MBA from UNO and now works as an electrical design supervisor for OPPD. In addition to being dedicated to our work, we are enjoying the best part of our lives right now- raising our three kids Ryan (5), Claire (3) and Nora (10 months).
I was active in youth group beginning in junior high, helping to convince other classmates to volunteer for different service projects that were going on with the high school youth group. I couldn’t wait to join the high school group. I became a member of the core team my freshman year and helped plan the very first vacation bible school- we won’t talk about how much of a flop the first year was! We regrouped the next year and created the beginnings of what vacation bible school is today. Our son Ryan attended his first vacation bible school 2 years ago and Claire attended her first VBS last year. There was nothing more rewarding than seeing something that I put so much time and effort into grow and provide so much joy to our own children. Mark was active in the growth and promotion of the youth group at St. Columbkille and because we were dating was an honorary member of St. Robert’s Youth Group as well. Those leadership experiences during high school really set the foundation for our development and confidence as leaders later in life.
My favorite memory was attending NCYC for the first time. It’s hard to believe that the first year that St. Robert’s sent a group we had a hard time even getting people willing to attend because none of us knew anything about it. There were only 6 of us and we had the most amazing time. It is still one of the most powerful experiences I have had in my faith journey.
Youth group helped me to grow in my faith, spend time weekly with my siblings who were also part of youth group, make lifelong friendships and memories, and we unexpectedly found the love of our lives! We have spent time in college and early in our married life as advisors for youth group, mentoring the future leaders of the church and our community! We feel strongly that it is important to give of your time and talents, and the youth group has provided a great opportunity to be engaged in our faith and celebrate God’s love.
We laugh all the time telling the story of how we met. I like to call the story “2 lies and a church camp.” We were both involved as core team members- me at St. Roberts and Mark at St. Columbkille. The core teams from each parish were attending a week-long camp called Youth Leader at Creighton University and participants needed to be going into their junior or senior year of high school. Debbie might have filled out my application saying I was a junior even though I was only going to be a sophomore. Mark’s youth minister also told the same “white lie”. We met at the camp and quickly put together that neither of us was supposed to be there. We became great friends, started dating, got married, had kids and now are raising our family at St. Robert’s.
David LeFebvre was one of the original members of the youth group that promoted a successful Vacation Bible School Program at St. Roberts. At SCUBA - one of the first Vacation Bible Schools, he took the opening and closing to another level of interactive and engaging. David shares his involvement with youth group and how his skills got him to where he is today!
I went to Skutt Catholic and then went to Rockhurst University. I majored in Nonprofit Leadership Studies and Communication. After college, I moved to Richmond, VA and have lived in the Commonwealth of Virginia ever since. Currently I work for Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond and lead the fundraising and communications for the organization which operates 5 clubs in Central Virginia. We serve 400 kids each day.
Youth Group was definitely impacted me for life. I cherish every day all the memories and relationships from my days in Youth Group. Youth Group allowed me to understand and take deeper reflection with my faith. I was allowed the space to take a deeper dive in understanding my place in this larger world and how I needed to take BIG action to make it better. My path toward social action and community service was definitely rooted in my experiences with Youth Group - Catholic Leadership Institute, National Catholic Youth Conference, and Young Neighbors in Action for example.
Youth Group also provided me very practical skills of team building and event planning. Every day for work I think of helping to plan Vacation Bible School, Confirmation Retreat, and Parent's Day Out. Youth Group allowed me to plan events for the larger community while learned how to plan them along the way. Just the other day, I planned a retreat for my team at work. I texted Debbie Marcil for teaching me the best retreat skills ever.
My favorite youth group memory was planning Vacation Bible School. The friendship, community that we built was one of a kind and hard to explain in words. By favorite memory for VBS was gathering for fellowship with high school leaders every day after VBS to celebrate community. For me - this is what Church is all about.
My name is Abbey Bessmer and I went to Westside High School. I am currently a Junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and I am majoring in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. I play the Trumpet in the Cornhusker Marching Band and I am as Resident Assistant here in Lincoln. I believe that many of the qualities of leadership that I am using in my Resident Assistant position are all qualities that I learned from the Youth Group.
Many of my closest friends in high school were from youth group. I always looked forward to Wednesdays because I knew that I was going to see my favorite people. Youth Group gave me the opportunity to meet amazing people, serve amazing people, and become a better person myself. The different opportunities offered by the SRB youth group helped me grow as a person, leader, and sister in Christ. I am forever grateful for the amazing experiences I got to partake in throughout my time in the SRB youth group.
The St. Roberts youth group has impacted many of my decisions in life. It taught me that it is okay to be yourself no matter what people say. The SRB youth group helped me make the decision to get involved in the Newman Center on campus in Lincoln because I had such an amazing experience with Youth Group in High school. It impacted my decision to say “YES” to retreats and service opportunities because I had such a great experience with them in this Youth Group.
My favorite memory of Youth Group in high school will forever be the service trip to WaltHill. The moment when we drive up to the Legion Hall and the little children come running and jump into your arms and tell you how much they missed me will forever me one of my favorite memories of Youth Group. The late nights in Winnebago playing cards to the sweaty afternoons of basketball and baseball in WaltHill. These are the memories that I hold close to my heart and will forever cherish. Thank you SRB youth Group for teaching me how to serve others and how to live a life through Christ.
Your sister in Christ,
I am a 2014 Marian High School graduate. While I was at Marian I participated in many clubs and leadership training courses, but I also was a cheerleader and a trapshooter.
While at Marian I made the big decision to go to university in Ireland. With the support of my family and friends I moved to Galway and began a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Classical Studies. Having finished my three year BA degree this past May, I will be graduating in October. I am furthering my studies at the National University of Ireland Galway in law and will receive an LLB degree or law degree at the end of this school year. While studying the law, I am also working part time at a law firm here in Galway.
Youth group played a major role in my life, even before I got to high school. While I was in middle school I always remembered that my sister Hailey would go to Youth Group on a Wednesday night and come home saying how she had so much fun and met so many nice people. When my twin Sydney and I finally got to high school we experienced the same joy that Hailey had from Youth Group.
There were always fun activities going on at Youth Group but what made it so joyful for me was the service we did for others. There were no shortages of service projects to be done, from volunteering at the volleyball tournament to helping in Walthill, I loved playing a part in our community.
Because Youth Group is so service oriented, I have learned to be active in my community here in Galway. A way in which I dedicate my time for others and to God is by helping lead prayer meetings at NUI Galway. Though it takes some time to organize the meetings, I keep constantly in my mind the time and effort which was put into the running of Vacation Bible School. Though the events are different, the outcome is the same, which is to share God's love for all who attend. With this outcome I know my time is well spent.
There are so many great memories I have from Youth Group, but I think my all time favorite was the water drive for Macy. Not only was it a great character building experience, i.e.lifting more 24 packs of water than I ever thought I would in a lifetime, but it was a honestly really fun and the gratitude from the people in Macy was heartwarming. I have never seen a community pull together like that before and it made me proud to be from Omaha and to be apart of the St. Roberts Youth Group.
I so enjoyed going to youth group during junior high and early high school. It was a concrete way to stay attached to the parish I loved and the friends who I grew up with. Debbie Marcil, the former Youth Ministry Director, took us on some amazing trips: Columbus, OH and Kansas City for NCYC (National Catholic Youth Conference) where it became clear to me that there was no small number of young Catholics in this country! My favorite trips were service trips, twice to Winnebago and once to Chicago. My favorite was the trip to Chicago. It was the first time I was taken way out of my comfort zone and asked to serve people who I didn't know in a place I'd never been. By the end of the week, I was surprised to be filled with love for these newfound friends, and now whenever I think or visit Chicago, my mind is again flooded with the memories of that trip and the goodness of being able to live like Christ, by laying down my life for those I love.
My desire to become a priest was cultivated in no small way by trips like these. In other words, I'd say these mission trips fanned the flame of my vocation at a young age. Now, I am happy to say I am studying to become a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha. I will be studying theology in Rome for four years and am taking all my memories of youth group with me, recalling how I have met the Lord through these experiences. By planting His own love for His people into the field of my heart, I have learned to love them truly myself, and through all of this, I have had the greatest joy of encountering the Master of the Harvest, Love Himself.
- Paul Floersch, Creighton Prep 2011
If your organization is looking for volunteers, please contact Kate Vazquez at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to add your volunteer/service opportunity to our monthly e-newsletter. This communication is sent out a few days before the start of the new month. Please include the following in your email:
- Name of Organization
- Date and time of volunteer opportunity
- Number of volunteers needed
- Description of responsibilities
- Volunteer contact person and information
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